Success is never a single event. It is the aggregate result of coordinated activity. For the CMO, this is multiple campaigns and content produced throughout the year. Every touch shapes the minds of prospects and clients. Company representatives who come in contact with the prospect create lasting memories. Marketing enables company representatives to make the most out of interactions. The sum total of all marketing activities collectively determines success.
Yet many B2B marketing teams are operating in a siloed approach. Marketing efforts are completed in parallel lines that never connect. There is no cohesive marketing strategy. The strategy is just a series of independent activities.
To illustrate this point turn to world class CMOs. I’ve heard top CMOs state that ‘The Campaign’ is dead. Gone are the days of executing tactics that are dressed up as strategies. Today, every sales leader must be able to clearly answer to the CEO. “We are doing this activity because…”. CMOs must be able to do the same.
Download SBI’s report, How to Increase Marketing’s Contribution to 2015 Revenue. It walks you through our 6 step methodology to creating an effective marketing strategy for 2015.
Marketing Strategy – The Wrong Way
Your team produced a comprehensive marketing plan that seems to be complete. The plan includes a massive laundry list of marketing tactics. The plan components are integrated well with a good mix. The budget levels are sufficient to drive inquiries. But how unique is it from past plans? How differentiated is the plan from competitors? Does the plan target the right segment of the market? How will you know if your plan is contributing to the overall strategic goal? Hint: If it’s not a revenue figure, you are already behind.
Many marketing departments re-run the same plays year after year. This makes sense as best practices are all about repeating what works. However, without a complete strategy your efforts can slowly erode in effectiveness. This happens as the following dynamics play out;
- Overall market growth disguises declining effectiveness (i.e. rising tides raise all boats, even the leaky ones).
- The market is steadily shifting away from you.
- Competitors are gradually making progress while you lose market share.
World Class Approach
Last summer I participated in the planning of a client’s marketing plan. The CMO was not confident he had the right plan.
He asked me to sit in on a presentation of the new marketing plan. At first glance the plan looked impressive. Then I asked for a past plan. I found the mistake. It was a clear rinse and repeat. The team updated dates and added a few social media additions. But it was the same traditional approach. Going to market with the plan was a risk. The plan lacked differentiation. There were gaps in the market, competitive and industry views. The result would have been a plan with diminishing effectiveness, falling on tired ears.
The Right Approach
When SBI studied how top producing marketing organizations landed on the right marketing strategy, we found they followed a 6 step process.
Step 1 – Segmentation – Buyer and market sizing must be the very first thing done. Understand the market, accounts and buyers, or everything else that is done will be flawed.
Step 2 – Planning – Planning must follow Segmentation but be done before Process. The plans need to build on the segmentation findings. They need to broadly define how the number is going to be met. They serve as an outline for the processes that get built next.
Step 3 – Engagement – Now with the plans in place, the processes can be defined. Process must come before people. Process guides resources and prevents role corruption.
Step 4 – Org – Organization comes after Engagement. Now knowing what needs to get done, the team can be organized to make it happen. This includes placing the right people in the right roles to prepare for Execution.
Step 5 – Execution – With everything defined, it is time to focus on doing the work. This is the actual execution of the strategy.
Step 6 – Support – Support follows Execution. Once a firm starts executing, they will run into obstacles. The support work will help overcome these obstacles while making the ongoing execution easier.
Don’t enter 2015 with a tired marketing plan. Download the SBI marketing strategy framework.